With the average cost of a wedding in 2021 standing at around £17,000 according to planning app Hitched, there’s no doubt why lots of newly engaged couples are interested in saving money on their big day. In the time period from August 2020 to July 2021 Google Trends saw a rise of 40% in searches for ‘budget wedding venues’.
Chipping pennies away from wedding budgets is clearly becoming more of a priority. The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was a sizeable £31,000 and even that was slightly less than the previous year. If you’re ready to still make your day as special as you can whilst sticking to your budget, we’ve got some handy hints and tips.
Don’t worry, just because the average wedding cost has been between £20,000 and £30,000 recently doesn’t mean that you have to spend quite as much as this to have an amazing day. The legal act of getting married actually costs around £300 for your ceremony, depending on where you live. So, if you’re looking to get married on the smallest budget you can, this is the ballpark you could be looking at. Not sure where to start? Here’s our top tips for sticking to your wedding budget.
How to set your budget
You’ll probably already have a rough idea of what your budget will be, this could depend on family contributions, your own savings balance and how much you know you can save until your big day. Work within your means and don’t put yourself under undue financial pressure, whatever your day turns out looking like your friends and family will have a fantastic time watching some of their favourite people get married. That’s what it’s all about.
Remember – a lot of your wedding costs will come at the beginning of planning in the form of deposits which can be up to 50%. If you need to save before starting to book things, it’s best to have a plan of action.
The first step is to chat the budget through with your partner and decide how much you can spend. We have a handy downloadable budget planner which could help you see all the incomings and outgoings for your household and help you find out how much you can save each month towards your wedding.
How big your budget will be depends on a lot of things such as:
- Your taste
- How much you can afford
- The length of your wedding day
- The number of guests and therefore the space you’ll need
- Your location
For starters, think about your non-negotiables as a couple. Are these your outfits? Is there a specific band that you want for your reception? Do you want the food to be all organic or your wine from a specific shop? If you can’t imagine your day without a specific thing then create your budget around this and find where you’ll be able to compromise. Maybe you want a designer outfit but you’re happy with high street shoes? Make sure you know which areas of your budget you’re determined to get the best for, and which area of your budget is for things that you’re maybe not as fussed about.
Remember charges that you might not see upfront and the little things that add up such as:
- Stamps for save the dates and invitations
- Outfit alterations
- Hair grips for bridesmaids or tie pins for groomsmen
- Thank you cards
- Wedding stationery such as menus
How to stick to your budget
Creating a spreadsheet is the easiest way to keep track of your spending. Store it somewhere centrally where you and your partner can both access it. Start by filling your spreadsheet with your budget for certain things. Split things up into venue, entertainment, food, travel, outfits, and decor for example and allocate a weighting towards each one.
Whenever you spend on something for the wedding or receive a quote, note it down and see if it fits within your budget. This will help you see whether you can shift some budget around areas if you find yourself spending less or more than planned.
Beehive’s budget ideas for your big day
If you’re looking for some ideas on how to cut costs on your big day without sacrificing the experience, we’ve got ten tips right here.
1. Re-think your invites
Save on stationery and stamps by not sending out save the dates. Why not email your guests or create a Facebook event for people to get the date in their diary?
2. Dial down the drinks
Champagne may be the first port of call for the welcome or toast tipple, but this can get pricey. Try Prosecco or an orange juice Mimosa if you’re set on fizz or try something completely different such as Pimm’s.
3. Afternoon delight
If you have a set number of guests without much wriggle room and still want to save money think about whether you can get married later in the day. This way, you’ll only have to feed people for one meal, and you’ll have to provide fewer drinks.
4. Travel savings
Have both your ceremony and reception in the same venue or at least within walking distance of each other. This’ll save you money on travel costs for ferrying your guests to the next venue.
5. Go off peak
A summer Saturday will always be the most expensive time of the year and day to get married. Lots of venues and suppliers may do mid-week discounts and you can still have glorious weather in April, October and beyond. Plus, it’s not guaranteed for the sun to shine on your wedding day in June either. Sorry!
6. Double up for dessert
Keen to make savings but still want to have a lovely wedding cake? Skip dessert and use your wedding cake as the sweet treat for the day.
7. Seek out second hand
For decorations such as lights, table centrepieces and bunting having a look on Facebook Marketplace or eBay could save you lots of cash. Or, if vintage is your style, head to antique fairs and charity shops.
8. Round up the troops
Tap into the resources you have around you – yourself and your family and friends! If your mum is a keen gardener and flower arranger, see if she’ll grow your flowers for your bouquet. Is your best friend a Bake-Off wannabe? Ask if they’ll bake your cake for the big day.
9. Tailor your gift list
A lot of couples may already live together and a ‘traditional’ gift list might not be suitable. Toasters and mug sets are all well and good if you need them, but we’ll bet you already have everything you need. When creating your gift list, why not ask your guests to contribute to your honeymoon?
You could set up a separate savings account for this or, some travel agents sometimes help you set up websites to pay directly for your trip. Bear in mind you’ll have to pay a deposit for the trip yourselves, but you could get a big chunk of the payments covered by your generous guests.
10. Dress to impress
A way to shave between £1,000-£3,000+ from your wedding budget is to not have a bespoke or designer wedding dress, suit or outfit made specifically for you. To save money and still look amazing, how about…
- Trying pre-loved or sample sales and have the piece altered to fit you.
- Heading to the high street. You’ll spend a fraction of the price. Lots of high street and online retailers now have bridal, bridesmaid and tailoring sections that are perfect for looking amazing on a budget.
- Set on designer? Check out rental websites and apps such as HURR, By Rotation and HireStreet to get the designer look for a lot less. Plus, you won’t have the worries of what to do with the outfit once you’ve worn it for your special day.
There’s lots of tips on how to get started with wedding budgeting and some areas where you might be able to save a few pennies and pounds. If you’re looking for a simple savings account for your big day, visit our savings accounts page and look at what we have on offer.
Let Beehive Money help you save towards the things that matter to you.